Know It All: What’s the Scientific Term for “Booger”?

You are intimately familiar with boogers; the two of you have shared many private moments. But did you ever care enough to learn their proper name?

Everybody has that moment when they realize they don’t know about something that they should probably know about. Whether it’s history, language, science, or cultural phenomena, you’ve felt the stinging personal embarrassment of a moment wherein you realize there’s some common knowledge that isn’t so common. Don’t feel bad; nobody knows everything. Nobody, that is, except me and my sidekick, The Internet!

Somewhere in the world, a confused soul begs the question…

What’s the scientific term for “booger”?

All the gross stuff related to our bodies has a scientific term attached to it. “Farts” are medically known as “flatulence”. “Poop” is actually “stool” or “feces” and “pee” is actually “urine”. So, what is the scientific term for “booger”?

Clearly the goo in your nose is known as “mucus” when it is in its natural viscous, liquid form. But what happens, linguistically, when that mucus has dried into a solid? When all those doctors get together and talk about medical things (as I’m sure they do, at their country clubs and whatnot), how do they refer to boogers? Is there some cool word we don’t know about?

Well, if the entire Internet is any indication… the answer is “no”. There is no cool scientific word for “booger”.

The closest we can come to official terminology is dried nasal mucus, a bit of boring, wordy nomenclature that is touted as official by the likes of Merriam-Webster.

Oh well. Maybe someday.

[Note: you may have encountered someone who claims “rhinolith” is the technical name for “booger”. This is wrong. A rhinolith is basically a kidney stone for your nose — it is not a booger.]

Now you know.

Justin Brown is an artist and writer living in Virginia. He channels most of his enthusiasm into making things for his online art shop, Artness! by Justin Brown. You can keep up to date with him, his worldly adventures, and his dogs by following him on Instagram and on Facebook